With South Korea's rising status in the world, President Moon Jae-in is emphasizing the need for what he's calling "two-top" diplomacy that is, sharing diplomatic duties between himself and Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon.
The president made this point at a cabinet meeting Tuesday, in view of the growing importance of diplomacy, especially in terms of the economy and peace.
Here's the president.
"South Korea has a presidential system, but uniquely it also has a prime minister. Under the Constitution, we give the prime minister the authority to supervise the administrative branches. That means the prime minister is qualified to conduct summit-level diplomacy."
He says Prime Minister Lee's four-nation tour to Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Qatar should be viewed in line with such efforts.
He also explained that the PM's diplomatic activities have helped broaden the scope of South Korea's diplomacy and have boosted economic support for Korean companies.
A senior Blue House official noted that the president's remarks are also a response to criticism of the prime minister's overseas travel at a sensitive time when trade tensions are rising.